Season 1, Episode 5
Written by Tof Eklund
Read by Tawn Krakowski
Dreams often speak the truth, but it is hard to discern the ivory gate of prophetic dreams from the horned gate of illusions. More witches have been led astray by mistaking fantasy for prophecy than by mistaking a true dream for false. After my disturbing and libidinous dream of Kaye, I worried greatly about what prophecy it might contain. I tried to continue on as before with the Prince. I knew my duty, no matter how confused I might be personally.
I wasn’t able to get Kaye any of the books I’d promised him, except for a heavily censored edition of the Codex Anatomica. Illustrations of any sort of sex act or even full nudity were highly illegal in Thrycae, and all of the better known books on lovemaking were explicitly banned. A survey of the castle’s library turned up a great deal of misinformation, ranging from religious works on propriety to the near-glorification of rape in some of the histories, but nothing accurate or useful. Even the nature and course of pregnancy were censored; you could learn more about human reproduction from books on animal husbandry than from any of the texts that addressed themselves to marital affairs. So I gave Kaye books on animal husbandry and on courtship etiquette. I could tell that he was confused and displeased, but for once I failed as a tutor and discouraged his questions.
After a couple of stressful weeks of this, I approached Geoff for help. Finding him outside the Prince’s rooms, I handed him a list of obscure poetic works.
“Geoff, you leave the capital on a regular basis,” I asked. “Would you look for these books for me?”
Geoff looked at me sideways, with an expression like he was slowly chewing a tough piece of meat. When he spoke, it was in calm, measured tones. “I could. But first, I need you to tell me why you want these books.”
Only then did I realize that I was asking Geoff to take a very real risk; my list was full of lyric romances with bawdy bits that were at least vaguely accurate. They were below and outside the notice of the priests, but if they were examined, they would be found to contain taboo and illegal content. I’d approached Geoff because he was my fellow instructor, but I knew almost nothing about him personally. If I told him the truth, he might choose to report me rather than aid me.
I swallowed, then went for it, “Kaye wants, and deserves, to learn about the basics of courtship and, ah, the marriage bed. My resources here are very limited. These books aren’t banned, but the library does not have them.”
“Why haven’t you requested the library obtain copies of them?”
“When I ask for new books, the priests become curious. They mistrust me, so I fear that if I were to ask for these works, they would be added to the rolls of banned books or censored into uselessness.”
“You wish to skirt the law.”
“Yes,” I replied, my voice barely above a whisper.
Geoff paused and looked at me again, his face a bland mask. “Um hum,” was his only reply.
“Are you going to report me?” I asked stupidly.
“No,” he said, then turned and walked away. The next day, he was gone.
With the first frost, I sent off my annual report to the Order. I give a full accounting of Kaye’s wyrd, and his ill fortune, but withheld certain details pertaining to myself and my dreams. I told myself that a few moments of idle and inappropriate fancy were not sufficiently important to merit inclusion, but I felt dishonest nonetheless.
Geoff returned to the castle on a clear and bitterly cold day. There was a little snow on the ground, but not the inundation that would soon make travel nearly impossible. He rapped soundly on my door that evening and, when I opened it, thrust a cloth-wrapped bundle into my hands.
“Here,” he said.
“Thank you, Geoff.”
He gritted his teeth before spitting out, “Say nothing of it. Please.”
Inside were two small volumes of poetry: the epic poem Romance of the Marque and a collection of Vavo’s poems, most of which are about gods and goddesses sleeping with mortals. It wasn’t much, but it would at least supplement Kaye’s readings on horsebreeding and birthing livestock.
“That,” I said, “is one of the basic problems with government by plebiscite. The average individual is unlikely to understand the nuances and full consequences of the issue at hand. Do you have any more questions for me, Kaye?”
Kaye nodded. “What is ‘the spot in which maids delight’ that Vavo writes of?”
“Guuuuh?” I gaped at him. Why wasn’t I prepared for this? I’d given him the books yesterday, and of course he was going to have questions. It only made sense. So why was my throat suddenly dry and my heart pounding?
Kaye looked up at me from the table in the small parlor we used for some of our lessons. His crutches were set against the side of the table, just as before, but now he had the volume of Vavo’s poetry out and open on top of the texts on political philosophy that I was prepared to speak about.
Kaye, perhaps mistaking my silence for confusion, continued, “Here’s the context: ‘his hand came to rest upon the spot in which maids delight, and by provoking touches and heated words did he persuade her to open her thighs that he might enter between them’. Yelen? Are you well?”
I was, in fact, blushing and near apoplectic. I shook my head, took in a deep breath, and willed myself to be calm. It helped, a little. I sat down at the table.
“Well, Kaye, this scene describes a seduction. He’s trying to persuade her to have sex with him, and so he talks to her and touches her in a way that arouses her.”
Kaye smiled at me, a bit nervously. “I understand that much, but where is he touching her? It sounds like ‘the spot in which maids delight’ is a specific place on her body.”
“I think,” I said, “that we can safely assume that Vavo is referring to what the old tongue calls the ‘clitoris’. I don’t think there’s a word in Thrycae’s dialect for it.” I paused. “It’s the center of sexual pleasure for women.”
Kaye stared at me avidly, like I’d just revealed the beating heart of the universe to him. “So, if a man wants to have sex with a woman, he should touch her…clitoris?”
“Yes, sort of, though he mustn’t rush things.” I turned to Vavo in desperation. “See, the previous stanzas are full of kissing, caresses, and affectionate words: ‘they pressed hands, and lips, and spoke of the power of their longing, one for another.'” I cut off, aware of a powerful longing in my own body. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat.
Kaye picked up the thread of the conversation. “But then, he touches her clitoris, and it causes her delight, right?”
“Yes,” I exhaled the word.
“Where is the clitoris?”
“It’s between the thighs,” I began, “above the vaginal opening and below the pubis. It’s part of the labia, and is covered by a hood…” I looked at Kaye, and saw that I’d completely lost him. Most of those words were entirely new to him. Until now, all he’d known of sex was that men had a cock and women had a place to put that cock.
I tried, several different ways, to explain the anatomy, but it just wasn’t sinking in. Kaye’s blushes, and my own, faded, replaced by mutual grimaces of frustration. I even applied my complete lack of artistic skill to creating a couple of charcoal sketches of male and female genitalia, but the results were a crime against art and anatomy, as well as a violation of Thrycae’s laws. About the only thing I didn’t do was hoist myself up on the table and pull up my skirts for a hands-on demonstration. After half an hour of complete failure, I told Kaye that we would return to the topic the next day.
His expression of disappointment and consternation left me wondering if my efforts had accomplished more harm than good.
I looked out over a great throne room, much grander than that of Thrycae, the light gleaming off of mirror-bright polished marble, white, black, and green with accents of gold, almost too bright to see. I was seated upon a great gilded throne amidst plush cushions. A robe of royal silk caressed my skin, and there was the unfamiliar weight of a circlet upon my brow.
“Mother of Nations,” a smooth voice rolled out of the empty air beside me, “a supplicant comes before the throne.”
I looked, and there, in front of and below me, was a strapping young man, bare-chested, clothed only in a full-length skirt that obscured his legs and feet. His face was familiar, his expression a mixture of eagerness and nerves.
“Approach,” I called out, my voice echoing in the vast hall. The echoes were strange, each one sounding like a different woman’s voice. Stranger still, in each voice, each echo, there was something else, something big, imperious, ancient, and ageless. It felt like the voice of the Goddess herself.
The young man rose and glided up to me in one smooth motion. He then knelt before me. “I come humbly,” he spoke, “seeking the blessing of the Goddess and knowledge of the ways of women and men.” It took but a moment for me to recognize Kaye’s voice.
I pulled my robe open, exposing my naked body to his gaze, and spread my legs in offering. “Look at the origin of the world, man-child, and know wonder.”
The young man gasped, his expression one of holy awe.
“Come closer.” I beckoned and he slid forward, as if pulled by my hand, until his shoulders rested between my knees.
“Behold the gates of the temple,” I heard myself say as my fingers alighted on my labia. “They are so called because they are sacred in themselves, but also conceal greater mysteries.
“Behold the Goddess’ causeway,” I continued, my fingers spreading my labia so that he could see inside of me, “from which emerges the entire world.
“Behold the pearl without price,” my fingertips slid up to my clitoris, “so called because whosoever would worship me must know me here.
“Come and worship,” I said, my voice dropping to a sultry whisper. My hand beckoned him closer, and he lowered his head between my thighs. I felt his warm breath upon me, and…
Thump! Thump! Thump! I awoke to the sound of pounding on my door and a woman’s voice, pleading with me to let her in.
© 2012 Copyright Tof Eklund
Presented by BigWorldNetwork.com